Editors: Another Crack at the Machine

Since 1960, when he started sniping from the pages of his weekly Morrilton, Ark., Democrat at the political machine that rules Conway County, wiry Editor Gene Wirges has been beaten up, shot at and haled into court on ten different charges. Repeatedly, juries, which always seemed to include at least one or two friends of Sheriff Marlin Hawkins, undisputed boss of the local machine, found Wirges guilty. Repeatedly, higher courts overturned the verdicts.

This month, after more than a year of litigation, the Arkansas Supreme Court reversed the latest decision against Wirges—a perjury...

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